Social security spouse benefits are eligible to you if you are widowed, divorced, or even still married. However, there are a few things you should know when claiming social security irrespective of the category you fall into.
Widowed Spouses Benefits
You can claim your spouse’s social security, as early as 60 years, upon his/her death, if you have been married for more than 9 months. However, keep in mind; you cannot claim your benefit, as well as, your spouse’s. You are applicable to claim only the larger the benefit. The surviving spouse is also eligible to receive a lump sum, upon the death of the spouse, if living in the same house. If you wait till 70 to collect on social security, you can use it as life insurance. Remember, if you claim, your spouse’s social security, before full retirement age, you stand to lose a significant amount of money. However, if you wait till full retirement age, you can get 100% of your spouse’s benefit amount.
If you are divorced, the maximum you can claim from your spouse’s social security is 50% of what your ex-spouse would get at full retirement age. You will not be able to collect your ex-spouse’s social security if you are remarried. Your marriage to your ex-spouse should have lasted for more than 10 years, and your spouse has to be 62 or over. You will be eligible for your ex-spouse’s benefits even if your ex-spouse has not filed for these benefits. Keep in mind; you have more benefits if you wait to claim these benefits after full retirement age. If your ex-spouse is younger than you, you can always collect your benefits and then collect theirs once you become eligible.
Current Spouse Benefits
If you are still married, you can collect your social security, and collect 50% of your spouse’s benefits calculated at full retirement age. If you earn more or less than your spouse, you will automatically be eligible to get the higher spousal benefit. If your spouse has reached full retirement age, you can claim his/her benefits and claim yours once you reach full retirement age. This way you get a higher benefit. Remember, if both of you take your benefits before full retirement age; you will both stand to lose a significant amount from your benefits.